Order of Ontario recognizes U of T community members

Photo of Chau
Tom Chau and the other Order of Ontario recipients will attend a ceremony on Feb. 27 (photo courtesy of Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital)

Three University of Toronto faculty members have been recognized this week with appointments to the Order of Ontario, the province’s highest honour. 

Tom Chau, a professor at U of T's Institute of Biomaterials & Biomedical Engineering, was named to the Order for his work creating communication tools and technologies for children who require rehabilitation for complex medical problems. “He has literally given voice to children who had none,” Chau's citation reads. “His research and inventions provide novel ways for children with severe disabilities to communicate through movements and hums, vastly improving their quality of life.”

Chau is the vice-president of research at the Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital. He leads a world-renowned research group that has published more than 190 journal articles and holds more than a dozen patents. He has also supervised over 250 undergraduate and graduate students.

 “Tom’s extraordinary dedication to pediatric rehabilitation has helped improve the lives of many children and their loved ones, and he has also inspired a number of students to pursue this important work,” said Professor Warren Chan, director of the Institute of Biomaterials & Biomedical Engineering.

Read more about Tom Chau

Shashi Kant, a professor of forest resource economics and management at U of T's Faculty of Forestry, was also appointed to the Order. Kant, who is also the founder and director of the master of science in sustainability management program at U of T Mississauga, has published five books and more than 100 refereed journal articles and book chapters, and leads the global think tank, New Frontiers of Forest Economics.

“The only Canadian to win the Queen's Award for Forestry, he has an international reputation as an expert in the intersection of forest management and human rights, and is a leader in his field for considering sustainability and social aspects of forest management,” Kant's citation says.

Dr. Upton Allen, a pediatric infectious disease specialist at the Hospital for Sick Children and professor in U of T's Faculty of Medicine, has also been named to the Order. "He is an internationally recognized pediatrician whose multidisciplinary approach to preventing life-threatening infections among children with compromised immune systems has had profound national and global impacts," his citation states.

 Other Order of Ontario recipients affiliated with the University of Toronto include:

  • Dr. Alan Bernstein, received his PhD at U of T in medical biophysics in 1972. He is president and CEO of the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research, and a distinguished fellow of U of T's Munk School of Global Affairs.
    "He is a renowned researcher, winning numerous awards, honours and international acclaim. He made game-changing contributions to our understanding of cancer, establishing the basis for important advances in cancer therapy. He has been a visionary leader as Director of Research at the Lunenfeld-Tanenbaum Research Institute, the founding President of the Canadian Institutes for Health Research and is currently the President and CEO of the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research (CIFAR)."
  • Dr. Peter Chang, a lawyer and psychiatrist who is a U of T alumnus.
    “He has improved access to mental health services for Ontario's East Asian communities. He established the Hong Fook Mental Health Association to provide culturally sensitive services in five Asian languages, as well as the Hong Fook Mental Health Foundation to address the stigma of mental illness.”
  • Sandra Chapnik, a lawyer and retired judge who is a U of T alumna.
    "She has had an extraordinary and influential career as a lawyer and a judge with the Superior Court of Justice for Ontario. She is also a tireless promoter and mentor of women in law."
  • Leslie Fagan, a singer and promoter of Canadian music who is a U of T alumna.
    "She is a revered soprano, voice teacher and promoter of Canadian art songs and Canadian composers. She recently released Thread of Winter, the first in a series of albums in the Canadian Art Song Series."
  • Michael Lee-Chin, an entrepreneur and philanthropist who is a major donor to U of T
    "He is an entrepreneur who believes in the power of giving back. His gifts to local hospitals have improved patient care, and his historic contribution to the Royal Ontario Museum led to the creation of the iconic Michael Lee-Chin Crystal."
  • Dr. Dilkhush Panjwani, a psychiatrist who is a lecturer at U of T's department of psychiatry
    "As a community psychiatrist for over 30 years, Dr. Panjwani has vigorously promoted dignity for those suffering from mental-health issues and workplace injuries, dedicated his career to helping patients without access to care, and advocated to end the social stigma of mental illness. He has also promoted pluralism by connecting diverse community organizations and initiating interfaith and intercultural dialogue."
  • Ilse Treurnicht, former CEO of MaRS Discovery District and advocate for women and innovation  
    "Her leadership helped build the MaRS Discovery District into the world's largest – and Canada's leading – innovation hub. One of Canada's first female CEOs of a venture capital fund, she advocates for measures to improve economic and social prosperity, and to help break the glass ceiling for other women."